Terps excited about Military Bowl bid
COLLEGE PARK--When Tehuti Miles enters a restaurant, he’ll wait for a table toward the back, one where the wall is squarely behind him and he can see the rest of the patrons around him in plain view.
It’s just something that stays with him, something that he was trained to do.
Miles, a 23-year-old native of New Jersey, enlisted in the military in 2008 and served in Afghanistan from March 2010 to March 2011. That was before he began his new life, his new start as a running back on Maryland’s scout team and was headed to the 2013 Military Bowl.
“I still have like flashbacks sometimes,” Miles says, recalling his deployment. “Some people won’t even notice it. I might have it just walking with you, but I won’t say anything.
“I try not to let it bother me. I just think of other things or focus on other things. I try not to let it bother me. The only time it might bother me is at night.”
For Miles, football is therapy. He has yet to play a down in live game action for the Terrapins, but studies his playbook religiously to help keep his mind from lingering back to thoughts about his time on the battlefield that he’d rather stay away from.
He’s usually a bright character, full of energy and eager to talk about his experiences and how he’s pursuing a theater degree at Maryland and--he explains excitedly--already has connections in the business.
But when asked the friend he lost overseas, he becomes understandably more quiet and somber. He lost one, but he’s quick to remind you of something.
“One is a lot.”
Here in College Park Miles is beginning the next chapter in his life, one he hopes ends with his name being called in the NFL Draft. He’s still working his way onto coach Randy Edsall active roster, but has made an impression in the short time he has been a part of the team.
“He’s gone out there and worked hard each and every day and given everything that he has to try to make the team better,” Edsall says. “He’s one of those guys that just goes out and does everything that he possibly can in order to make a contribution to the team and his is preparing the guys to get ready to play each and every week.”
He received a waiver so he can take part in this week’s bowl activities with the team, culminating in Friday’s game in Annapolis.
When Miles talks about it, he lights up with enthusiasm.
“I can’t wait to go out there and see all the things they’re to be going to have pregame,” Miles said. “I know some of the NFL games that have like the troops come on the field and hold the American flag out. Just excited to see all that type of stuff.”
“I think it’s great that we got a waiver for him to be able to partake in all this and I’m sure it will be a very special event for him and something that I know he will cherish for the rest of his life,” Edsall said. “I think it’s just neat that he’ll be able to have that opportunity.”
It’s rare for a military veteran to play college football, though Army veteran Daniel Rodriguez made Clemson’s roster in 2012. It’s even more rare for a veteran then to be able to take part in a bowl designed specifically to honor those veterans.
For Miles, with his ups and down, this will undoubtedly be one of his highest ups.
“I try to be positive,” Miles said. “If I can do the military, I can do anything. So that’s why I’m here.
“[The military] shows you how short life can be, so that’s why I want to be able to do everything I can.”
To purchase tickets to the 2013 Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md., click here.